Fridays are generally good days. You don’t hear too many people complaining about a Friday. Today I started my day with a half hour of yoga. Rodney Yee’s Power Yoga for Flexibility to be exact. It was a great way to begin my Friday and also a great way to stretch out my muscles on my rest day. Ahhh…the glorious rest day. The day my muscles get to rebuild, become stronger, and enjoy a light day of just getting me through my normal daily activities.
Many people are reluctant to take rest days in fear that they won’t make it to their weight loss, endurance, or strength goals. This thought couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, not giving your body a day of rest could actually set you back in your workouts and make reaching your goals that much harder. Without proper rest, complete regeneration cannot occur and improvements in strength and fitness can plateau and decline.
So, if you have been hitting the gym on a daily basis in hopes of achieving those new year’s resolutions, great job, but remember to take care of your body and give it a little down time. A proper workout regimen should include 1-2 days of rest per week, depending on how hard you are training. I tend to take it week by week and decide how many rest days I need. Listen to your body, it will thank you by becoming stronger and being able to work harder in the long run.
I find that yoga or walking are great activities to do on a rest day. Enjoy one of these light activities to help stretch out your muscles, or take the day off completely 🙂
So, how do you know if you are over training? There are many signs to look for, but here are some of the most common:
*Persistent muscle soreness (Delayed onset muscle soreness)
*Elevated resting heart rate
*Reduced heart rate variability
*Decrease in muscle tissue
*Decrease in appetite
*Poor physical performance
*Absence of menstruation
There are also many other dangers of over training, such as: increased risk of injury, heart palpitations, mental breakdown, increased risk of illness due to a weakened immune system, and higher cortisol levels due to elevated stress on the body.
Bottom line, whether you are a runner, body builder, or just a daily exerciser, give your body the break it needs. I look forward to my rest days and you should too. A day of rest is just as important as doing any exercise.